The Daily Post gives a thumbs up to Gwinnett citizens who have stood apart this week.

More ammo in graffiti war

Gwinnett County commissioners this week agreed to expand a successful cleanup program to cities.

We give the commission and the cities that requested expanding the Graffiti Hurts program a thumbs up.

In 2003, Gwinnett's legislative delegation pushed through a law to allow inmates onto private property to remove graffiti. The county later adopted a policy and inmates have painted more than 200 graffiti sites, according to numbers released last July.

Auburn, Braselton, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Snellville and Suwanee officials requested and this week got help in Gwinnett's graffiti war.

According to a new county law, property owners have three days to remove graffiti from buildings, fences and other locations.

If people aren't able to get rid of the messages themselves, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful offers to have the inmates paint the property.

Testing, testing

Gwinnett juniors set a new record for the percentage of students passing the writing component of the Georgia High School Graduation Test. In county public high schools, 98 percent of students passed the state writing exam on their first attempt.

That is two points higher than the metro Atlanta passing rate, and three points higher than the statewide passing rate. The 98 percent rate is an all-time high for the county.

We give a thumbs up to the kids who are obviously learning and the educators who obviously are teaching.

Georgia students must pass the graduation test to earn a high school diploma. High school juniors are given the writing assessment in addition to subtests in language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. If they don't pass the test on their first attempt, they are given opportunities to re-take it before their class graduates.

Six Gwinnett high schools had passing rates of 99 percent. These were Brookwood, Collins Hill, Dacula, Duluth, Mill Creek and North Gwinnett.

Road work

In just a couple of weeks, drivers will see the first signs of work on the long-awaited reconstruction of the Ga. Highway 316/Interstate 85 interchange.

The first major lane closures of the three-year construction process will begin in March.

We'll give officials a thumbs up for the project now - and we hope that enthusiasm continues long into the three-year schedule.

With a price tag of nearly $150 million, the project isn't scheduled to be complete until the end of 2008.

Construction includes flyover bridges to connect Ga. 316 westbound to Pleasant Hill Road and I-85 and the extension of high-occupancy vehicle lanes on I-85 to Old Peachtree Road and construction of HOV lanes on Ga. 316 to Herrington Road.